Here, in the wintertime in New York, there are many hazards for people on the roads. One of those hazards can be trucks engaged in winter weather-related work, like plowing, sanding, salting, or hauling snow. If you’re injured by one of these trucks, your case may potentially be more complex than an ordinary auto accident case. That definitely doesn’t mean that you cannot win and certainly should not deter you from investigating your legal options. An experienced New York auto accident attorney can help you assess your case and the options available to you to achieve a successful result.
Charlie and Shannon were driving in the Town of Amherst when they stopped at an intersection. While they were stopped, a dump truck owned by the town slammed into the pair from the rear. Their case is an example of succeeding even if you’re hit by a governmental vehicle.
When you’re hit by a vehicle that is owned by a governmental entity (such as a town’s dump truck), it is very important to proceed carefully in your case. When the entity you are suing is a governmental one, you may face an argument that the court should use a “reckless disregard” standard, which is much higher than ordinary negligence. That means that, if the court applies the “reckless disregard” standard to your case, it will be more difficult to win. One of the keys to success, then, is persuading the judge that the “reckless disregard” standard should not apply and that the court should use the ordinary negligence standard that applies to almost any other vehicle accident case.
In Charlie and Shannon’s case, the town argued that it was entitled to have its case tried under this elevated standard because the dump truck driver was “engaged in work on a highway” when the accident took place, which would have triggered the higher standard under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.
The judge in the case did not agree with the town. To be entitled to this rule, a governmental vehicle must have been actually doing highway work when the accident itself happened. If, for example, a truck hit a vehicle while plowing snow from a highway, that might entitle that defendant to the higher standard. In this case, the dump truck was empty, and the driver was traveling between work sites when he rear-ended Charlie and Shannon. The driver “was not plowing, salting, sanding or hauling snow.” Based on these facts, the more favorable (for the defense) standard didn’t apply.
That meant that Charlie and Shannon were entitled to proceed with their case as a regular negligence matter. Since the truck rear-ended them, that worked strongly in Charlie and Shannon’s favor. New York law says that, if you are stopped and get rear-ended by a driver behind you, those facts create a presumption that the other driver was at fault and liable. The only way to escape that liability is to provide a non-negligent explanation for the accident. The truck driver didn’t have one, so Charlie and Shannon were entitled to a summary judgment on the issue of liability, which meant that the judge declared the driver and town at fault and liable, and the only thing to be resolved at trial was the amount of the plaintiffs’ damages.
If you have suffered injuries in a vehicle accident, contact the skilled Queens trucking accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. Our team has been diligently representing injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians for many years. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Making Sure Than Your New York Auto Accident Case Complies with the Statute of Limitations, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 25, 2018
Overcoming Unique Challenges in Order to Pursue Your New York Truck Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 22, 2017